In Zeewolde, we chose to connect the solar park to spare installations of the electricity grid. Because of the use of this ‘side alley’ of the grid, space is created to connect sustainable initiatives that were on the waiting list. This is the first time a developer of solar parks chooses this option.
There has been considerable interest in connecting solar parks to the electricity grid. However, the grid has not been designed for that. The maximum capacity of the grid is, particularly in rural areas including Flevoland, either reached or within sight. Expanding these grids takes a lot of time. As a result, queues for connection to the grid or for supplying electricity back lined up at different locations. Therefore, there is also a focus on smart solutions to improve the exploitation of the existing grid.
It is the first time that a solar park, located in Zeewolde, is connected to the ‘side alley’ of the electricity grid. This so-called ‘side alley’ consists of spare cables and -installations and is only used when maintenance or malfunction occurs. Because of the use of these spare installations, space on the current grid is created for other applicants in the area who were in the queue. Network operator Liander is currently investigating how many applicants can be removed from the queue.
TPSolar had a reservation for the grid capacity of the proposed solar park, but TPSolar and Liander have, in good consultation, looked at alternatives. There are indeed a few applicants surrounding the project area who are not able to connect their sunroofs to the electricity grid. Because of the cooperation, the roofs will be able to connect to the grid, so this will not interfere with the transition to renewable energy.
For the solar park of TPSolar, which will ultimately produce electricity equivalent to the consumption of 2.200 households, special arrangements are made about the consumption of the spare installations from the distributor station in Zeewolde. In the event of malfunction or maintenance, the solar park will be temporarily disabled to ensure the energy supply of the region.
The capacity that becomes available is not sufficient for all the sustainable plans for both the sun and wind in Flevoland. As a consequence, considerable grid extensions will be implemented in the coming years, including an expansion of the distributor station in Zeewolde. These activities are estimated to be finished in 2023. Tens of millions of euros are invested in Flevoland in the coming years to reinforce and expand the electricity grid.